LEGISLATURE PASSES SIGNIFICANT FAMILY LAW REFORMS
Five senators work together to address issues of child placement, adoption, foster care and domestic abuse
JACKSON (March 29, 2017) – Today, the final hurdle passed for the legislature to send to Governor Phil Bryant SB2680, a significant family law reform measure.
Senator David Parker (R-Olive Branch) said, “These reforms aren’t as contentious or political as many issues that come out of the legislature. But I think when you consider the direct impact on the life of a child, the family unit and options for safety in the family, this is one of the most important measures to pass this session. It took a group effort of Senators and together, I believe we’ve crafted some common sense improvements to the law that impacts people across the state.”
The measure, SB2680, authored by Senator Angela Hill (R-Picayune) and co-authored by Senator Parker, combines the efforts of five Senators to bring pro-family reforms to Mississippi law:
· Fictive Kin: Allows judges to place children with a person considered a relative but not related to the child legally or biologically in cases where a child cannot be returned home. Senator Parker’s bill – SB2565 – was the source of this portion of the measure.
· Domestic Abuse: Clarifies grounds for divorce to include patterns of domestic abuse. This portion came from efforts by Senator Sally Doty (R-Brookhaven).
· Foreign Adoption: Allows parents who adopt a foreign child to represent themselves in the Mississippi portion of the adoption. This aspect was the result of work by Senator Josh Harkins (R-Flowood).
· Foster Care: Close relatives do not have to undergo foster care training to assume foster care responsibilities for children. This was part of the original bill filed by Senator Hill.
· Leadership: All four major provisions of this bill were guided and combined under the leadership of Senator Sean Tindell (R-Gulfport) who serves as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary-A Committee.
“People reading or watching the news might think the legislative session is a constant struggle over divisive issues. But important, common sense bills get passed as well. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues to craft this measure. We think it could make a huge difference in the lives of children and their parents,” Parker said.